Tungawan, ZamboangaSibugayMayor Randy Climaco, slain in an ambush only last October, was hailed as a “martyr”. The award said of him: “Reared by strong religious education, he labored to perform his political duties to give his constituents a better, peaceful life. In a community-driven by conflict and violence, he was a peacemaker by bringing enemies to reconcile with one another; he was a peacemaker by ensuring the delivery by government of basic social services; he was a peacemaker by upholding the rule of law, that people would respect their fellowmen and the sacredness of their life and property.”
The late Zamboanga City Schools Division Superintendent Abdu Rahim Kenoh was likewise honored. He was cited thus: “He and Peace Advocates Zamboanga became determined allies (in peace education). He welcomed every peace education initiated (by PAZ) in public high schools – from the training of classroom teachers and administrators in the lesson exemplars and mechanics of instruction delivery. Under his stewardship, hundreds of classroom teachers were trained on peace education pedagogy. His experiments into peace education paved the way for the institutionalization of the program by official decrees by the Department of Education, foremost of which is Memorandum Order 570.” Consequently, Zamboanga City today leads in the magnitude and sophistication of peace education instruction at public schools in the country.
Civil Service Commission regional director Macybel Alfaro-Sahi was also an awardee for having consistently called on government personnel to participate in Week of Peace activities. “Her actions, then,” the citation said, “have infused power into the peace-making advocacies of local civil societies, with many intangible yet real benefits. One of these was to set the basis for the government’s official and regular participation of its bureaucracies in the Week of Peace celebration not only in Zamboanga City but throughout Mindanao. This concommitant decree was set down in two Presidential Proclamations that have since institutionalized the Week of Peace in the Philippines.”
Basilan Province’s hometown journalist Rene Carbayas has dedicated his career as media practitioner and cultural artist to foster peace in his troubled island. Of him the award said: “The pursuit of peace-building and advocacy requires a humanist heart and creative mind as much as, if not more than, objective rationality, of imagination more than science. This principle is epitomized by our Peace Weaver Awardee for 2015 – a theater artist, journalist, teacher, civic worker, spiritual formator, and peace exponent.” Carbayas has written and directed stage plays with peace themes for Claret schools and “availed his knowledge and skills in theater arts to countless other peace-building activities by other organizations in Basilan.” Moreover, as journalist “he has propagated the labors and achievements of civil society, non-government as well as government organizations intended to foster harmonious inter-cultural and interreligious relations in his province.”
Recently retired Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero was conferred the award for, in his “final duty as commander of the Western Mindanao Command, Armed Forces of the Philippines, (he) exercised an important role in the ongoing historic Mindanao peace process. As the new peace agreements with Bangsamoro rebels began to play out in recent years, top military commanders chiefly like our Awardee were instrumental in the successful implementation of such accords like the confidence-building ceasefire and decommissioning of rebel forces. Our Awardee proved himself to be more than able to meet the challenges of the peace process – even beyond the call of duty in the instance of the so-called Mamasapano incident this year when he chose prudence as the better side of valor. By doing so, he saved many valuable lives as well as the peace process itself.”
The ceremony was graced by some top government officials and leaders of civil society.
The awardees, Fr. Calvo said, show to the community the way to peace. “Our aspirations as peace advocates is to develop in our community a culture of respect and harmony for the diversity, able to build a structure of justice, understanding and peace in our land. And the best way to show the path to peace, the best way to teach peace to our young generation is to show the existing efforts in our community, the past and present examplars of harmonious relationships in the community, the efforts to overcome the conflict that we have to face today, a community in harmony with self, with others and with creation.”